Category 2014 News


WEC invests £500,000 to set up job-creating new division

One of the largest engineering and fabrication companies in the UK has set up a new powder coating operation in East Lancashire.

WEC Group is investing £500,000 in the latest technology to create the WEC Powder Coating Division which could create up to 25 new jobs.

Based at the group’s Darwen headquarters it will offer sub-contract powder coating services nationwide.

The new operation has been launched as a way of furthering the group’s ambitions of becoming a true ‘one-stop-shop’.

And it is an addition to WEC’s already extensive list of engineering services which include fabrication, laser and waterjet cutting, CNC machining and sheet metalwork.

WEC Group is one of the North West’s most prominent engineering businesses with over 400 staff, and more than 185,000sq ft of product...

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Raising a glass of Christmas cheer!

Andrew Slater with his festive ales

A family owned brewery is getting ready to bring some Christmas cheer to the festivities as it looks towards a bright new year ahead.

Award-winning Slater’s Ales, based in Stafford, is set to unveil its seasonal brews to real ale fans across the country.

They include the long-anticipated return of its highly acclaimed Emperor IPA and a special Christmas brew called Blitzen – aptly named after one of Santa’s reindeers.

The Christmas season is one of the busiest times of the year for the brewery, which was established by Ged and Moyra Slater in 1995.

The family behind the operation are hoping to raise a glass of their own in celebration next year, as Lancashire-based accountants WNJ provide help and advice on expansion plans that include the possibility of increasing its outlets throug...

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Etc Urban appointed to create £6m leisure development

From garden centre car park entrance

National architecture and design practice Etc Urban has been appointed to design a high-quality £6 million leisure development in Lancashire that includes only the second curling rink in England.

The studio, which has offices in London, Preston and Manchester, is drawing up the vision for the new development for bosses at Barton Grange garden centre, near Preston.

As well as the curling rink, the Etc Urban plans include a cinema, tenpin bowling, crazy golf, a diner-style restaurant, fish and chip restaurant and an ice cream bar and coffee shop.

If planners give the go ahead the ‘Flower Bowl’ will also include a shop where people can buy and hire kayaks to use on the nearby Lancaster Canal.

Etc Urban’s initial designs for the development at Brock are for a single-storey building with ...

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WEC Academy is one of Britain’s best

Apprentices National Final 2014

The WEC Group’s training academy, the only one of its kind in the UK, has been recognised for its excellence in the prestigious National Apprenticeship Awards 2014.

The academy, which offers five year apprenticeships in engineering, fabrication and welding to local youngsters at WEC’s bases in Darwen and Blackburn, made the top three companies to be shortlisted in the final of the Large Employer of the Year category.

WEC Group, one of the largest engineering and fabrication companies in the UK, has also been named in the prestigious City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer List.

The list is compiled annually and features companies that have displayed the highest standards of excellence in employing apprentices...

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CPUK to create a new chapter for city’s historic canalside

Lancaster Canal Homes - Lower Res

Leading North West based builder Construction Partnership UK (CPUK) is set to start work on a £2 million waterside family housing development in Lancaster.

The company has been appointed by H20 – a national joint venture company between the Canal & River Trust (former British Waterways) and property development company Bloc – to transform a disused historic canal wharf in the city centre.

Aldcliffe Yard, which overlooks the Lancaster Canal and is in a conservation area, will include a mix of new-build three and four-bedroom houses as well as refurbished three, four and five-bedroom homes created out of two listed, stone canal buildings.

West Lancashire-based CPUK’s refurbishment work on the disused buildings will include structural and roof repairs.

The company will also carry out ...

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WEC Group’s debt-busting loan scheme is the first in UK

One of the largest engineering and fabrication companies in the country is helping its workforce cut their debts with an innovative scheme that is the first of its kind in the UK, says the Financial Times today.

East Lancashire-based WEC Group has joined forces with the local Jubilee Tower Credit Union (JTCU) to create a ground-breaking Employee Benefit Loan Scheme (EBL), reports Andrew Bounds, the FT’s North of England correspondent.

You can read the full story here: Financial Times – Employer teams up with credit union to help staff with loans – Monday November 17, 2014

The partnership between JTCU and WEC - 'Employer teams up with credit union to help staff with loans - FT_com' - www_ft_com_cms_s_0_f7aa289a-6a4f-11e4-8fca-00144feabdc0_htmloupsmeans the group’s 400-strong workforce now has an alternative way to borrow – and the chance to tackle any high interest loans they may have.

Creators of the scheme, which was ...

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Taxing problem that is set to grow


Matthew Hindle, tax partner at leading Lancashire accountants WNJ, says concerns are growing as HM Revenue and Customs’ powers to collect underpaid tax are increasing despite “repeated systems failures”.

The Preston-based expert explains: “Plans were unveiled in this year’s Budget which would allow HMRC to seize funds directly from individuals’ bank accounts to settle outstanding tax liabilities.

“These powers could be exercised if the taxman has requested the funds on at least three occasions and the individual has a minimum total balance of £5,000 across all of their bank accounts.

“Numerous MPs, accountants and industry bodies have all voiced concerns as to how these powers may be used and the impact they will have.

“These suggest that the proposed powers are disproport...

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Cloud Arch set to revolutionise long-span architecture

The National University of Singapore's research project called Cloud Arch, a long-span structure made of expanded polystyrene was on display from 25 September to 11 October 2014 at the Marina Bay Sands. Image: Fabian Ong

The National University of Singapore’s research project called Cloud Arch, a long-span structure made of expanded polystyrene was on display from 25 September to 11 October 2014 at the Marina Bay Sands. Image: Fabian Ong

A research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed Cloud Arch, an innovative, ultra-light architecture that will revolutionise the way large open public spaces are built.

This patent-pending technology has been jointly developed by a research team led by Japanese architect Assistant Professor Shinya Okuda from the NUS School of Design and Environment, and Professor Tan Kiang Hwee from the NUS Faculty of Engineering, in collaboration with global structural engineering consultancy Web Structures.

Cloud Arch is a new generation of architectural tech...

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Gold for Conran paint range

Conran and Partners win Gold at the 2014 Pentawards!

Conran and Partners is celebrating a gold medal in a major international brand and packaging competition.

The Paint by Conran range was voted best packaging at the 2014 Pentawards in Tokyo, Japan.

The Pentawards is the major worldwide competition exclusively devoted to packaging design in all its forms.

Drawing on 50 years of experience in designing for the home Conran created Paint by Conran, a range of interior paints primarily focused on the domestic market. The range launched with 96 colours inspired by British plants and landscapes.

Paint by Conran Conran and Partners1 Conran and Partners win Gold at the 2014 Pentawards!

Conran’s partners, esteemed British paint manufacturer Master Paintmakers (part of the Trimite group), have passionately handcrafted paint in the UK for over 150 years.

The ambition was to intertwine their technical know-how with Conran’s design expertis...

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Planners need to know about home-grown application that meets Longridge housing challenge

Arial of Longridge

Aerial view of Longridge. Photo: Visit Lancashire

Two Longridge businesses are set to submit plans for a 345-home development on the southern outskirts of the town, which planning experts believe could provide a solution to the housing challenges facing the community.

Long-standing local employers W Monks and S & N Forshaw have set up a joint venture to develop the Grimbaldeston Farm site, off Preston Road.

They believe the 19-hectare site could play a key role in meeting the residential development needs of the town. The outline application they are preparing for Ribble Valley planning chiefs includes 50 bungalows for local older people.

The plan will be submitted to the council later this month...

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